By: LaShawn Encarnacion (aka The Dark Knight of Sports)
July 31st was the trade deadline in the world of MLB. Once that came and past, teams began to show what their real intentions for the stretch run of the season are. While teams like the San Diego Padres, New York Yankees and numerous others failed to make changes to improve their roster, others have and this article is going to prove that making the right moves can potentially bring a division title.
To first understand the dramatic change, you must first understand where the divisions were back before the trade deadline mark of July 31st. According to MLB.com here are your standings:
In the American League East, the New York Yankees had a six-game lead over the second place Baltimore Orioles and Toronto Blue Jays. In the American League Central, the Kansas City Royals continued to stay atop the division, eight games ahead of second place Minnesota Twins. In the American League West, the Houston Astros held a two-game lead over the second place L.A. Angels.
Today is August 12th and there have been some changes.
After the acquisition of starting pitcher David Price and the addition of shortstop Troy Tulowitzki has given the jolt to not just the bats but more confidence to the pitching staff, which has allowed the Blue Jays to win 10-straight games and over take the New York Yankees for first in the American League East with a huge match up with the Bronx Bombers coming up this coming weekend that could very well decide the division between the two teams.
The Kansas City Royals knew they needed another quality starter, so they went out and got them another hot pitcher on the market, Johnny Cueto, who in his first start with the team only threw a complete game. Since that acquisition, the Royals only continue to separate themselves in the American League Central, now carrying an 11-game lead over the second place Minnesota Twins.
Now lets head over to the “senior circuit” that is the National League.
In the National League East, the Washington Nationals held a two-game lead and seemed to not be giving up anytime soon over the second place N.Y. Mets. In the National League Central, the St. Louis Cardinals had the best record in MLB (and still do) over the second place Pittsburgh Pirates at five-and-a-half and the third place Chicago Cubs at 10-and-a-half games back. In the National League West, the L.A. Dodgers continued to hold one-and-a-half game lead over the surging San Francisco Giants.
Today is August 12th and there has been some changes.
The N.Y. Mets have overtaken the Washington Nationals and have a comfortable three-and-a-half game lead in the National League Central. Two key acquisitions before the July 31st deadline by the Mets were the acquisitions of outfielder Yoenis Cespedes from the Detroit Tigers and adding closer Tyler Clippard from the Oakland Athletics. One decision being overlooked is the Mets incorporating a six-man rotation format which protects their young arms like Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard. And FYI, David Wright, their franchise player has not even been apart of the equation for some time, so that bat could make an even bigger difference upon his return.
The Chicago Cubs, not making many free-agent pick ups, did manage to grab experienced pitcher Dan Haren from the Miami Marlins before the July 31st deadline. But the Cubs moves have come from within, bringing their players from their obviously strong farm system. One name that is getting serious attention is catcher Kyle Schwarber, who since has been called up by Triple-A Iowa, has produced for the Cubs, Batting average at .313 with six home-runs and 21 RBI.
No other major moves from the other teams and hence why some are holding firm, some have the same close race that they started with and other teams continue to fall from playoff races all together and prepare for the next MLB draft.
One thing is certain this season, the race for October will be once again HOT and making moves could very well win the division.
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